NEW YORK (Reuters) – Actor Cuba Gooding Jr is due in court on Thursday to face new criminal charges involving a third woman accusing him of sexual misconduct, less than a month after he pleaded not guilty to groping one woman’s breasts and pinching another’s buttocks.
FILE PHOTO: Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. leaves after his arraignment in New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., October 15, 2019. REUTERS/Jefferson Siegel/File Photo
Gooding will plead not guilty to the charges in Manhattan Supreme Court, his lawyer Mark Heller said on Wednesday. The charges are not yet public, and a spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance declined to provide details.
Heller said on Wednesday that the charges stemming from the third accuser were “similar” to those involving the other two women, and that all the charges are misdemeanours.
“Each accuser is totally fraudulent,” Heller said, adding that there was video of all three alleged incidents exonerating his client.
Gooding, 51, won a best supporting actor Oscar in 1997 for the film “Jerry Maguire” and is known for roles in movies including “A Few Good Men” and “The Butler” and in the television miniseries “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”
He was previously charged with one count of forcible touching and one count of sexual abuse in connection with each of the first two accusers. He pleaded not guilty on Oct. 15.
Prosecutors said at the time that they hoped to establish a pattern of behaviour at Gooding’s trial using testimony from 12 additional women who have said they were subjected to unwanted touching and advances by the actor in bars and clubs.
It was not clear whether the accuser behind the new charges is one of those women.
Gooding, who is divorced, is one of dozens of men in politics, entertainment, sports and the business world who have been accused of sexual misconduct since allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein triggered the global #MeToo movement.
Weinstein is scheduled to stand trial in New York in January on charges of rape and assault involving two women. He has denied any non-consensual sex.
Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; editing by Jane Wardell